Whether you’re in a sweet or savoury mood, getting a healthy nut fix into your daily menu couldn’t be easier
With loads to choose from, nuts are a good way to add some health points to your diet – just stay clear of the salted varieties
And, if you’re pregnant, the latest research suggests eating nuts every day could reduce the risk your baby will develop an allergy in later life.
We’ve rounded up some pretty tasty ways to incorporate nuts in your diet
1. Change base
Forget your usual rice and try nutty couscous instead. ‘Cook it with chicken stock, lightly blanched pine nuts, some colourful root veg and spinach,’ says Saidee Bailey, nutritionist and founder of holistic health company Perfect Start Pregnancy. It’s a good way to cram in maximum goodness with minimum effort.
2. Get Baking
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, try whipping up some gluten-free almond and pine nut cookies. ‘Take 3oz of almond paste, 1oz sugar, two eggs and two big handfuls of pine nuts, and mix into a dough,’ says Saidee. Divide into cookie sizes and pop on a lightly greased baking tray. Then bake for between 15 and 20 minutes. Pine nuts are a good source of Vitamin E, which helps your skin stay supple and elastic.
3. Get a salad fix
Apple. Celery. Salad leaves. Walnuts. Lunch is all about a traditional Waldorf salad – or Peadorf, if you swap the walnuts for peanuts. ‘Add turkey, which is a rich source of zinc and iron,’ suggests Saidee. Iron’s brilliant for beating tiredness.
4. Switch up pesto
A versatile favourite, pesto mixes well with pasta, fish, salad and, well, pretty much anything. Instead of the usual basil and pine nuts, blitz pistachios and rocket with lemon, garlic, olive oil and perhaps parmesan for a delicious alternative. ‘Pistachios are a great source of B6, which helps your baby’s brain and central nervous system develop in pregnancy,’ says Saidee. ‘They’ve also been linked to improving serotonin levels, the hormone connected to mood.’ Hello, pick me up.
5. Swap snacks
Make up a bag of your favourite nuts and have them by your desk – the perfect snack to beat those crisp cravings. ‘Brazil nuts are a great source of zinc, which is a wonderful nutrient towards the end of pregnancy – it can help lower the risk of infection after birth,’ says Saidee. ‘Anything with zinc in tends to be best served in the most natural form possible – it’s very heat sensitive and cooking can take away the benefits.’
6. Go satay happy
OK, we’ll level with you – it’s not easy to make a peanut satay sauce that’s both yum and super healthy. Still, it’s tasty with meat or as a salad dressing (as well as that Chinese takeaway…) so we’re all for a bit of indulgence. ‘Mix two or three tablespoons of a good quality chunky peanut butter with four or five tablespoons of water, two of soy sauce, a little grated garlic, lime juice and chilli flakes,’ says Saidee.